Sunday 31 August 2014

We Are The 801

This is post 801. In 1974 Brian Eno had a dream , or was inspired , and came up with a chorus for a song "The True Wheel" which went:

"We Are The 801,
  We Are The Central Shaft"

He wrote the song and later, apparently discovered that the number 801 represent the central shaft in Geomancy / Geomantics . This has always fascinated me, but always seemed far to esoteric for me to understand or delve into. Now I have the biggest information repository ever at my disposal, I writing this as I listen to the song, and am still bamboozled by the cabbalistic and magical symbols and numbers that make up the geomantic character set, and also wondering about their purpose. 

One of the definitions is:
 " a method of divination that interprets markings on the ground or the patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil, rocks, or sand. The most prevalent form of divinatory geomancy involves interpreting a series of 16 figures formed by a randomized process that involves recursion followed by analyzing them, often augmented with astrological interpretations."

Which may or may not pique your interest.

Taking Tiger Mountain

The song is from "Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy" probably my favourite Brian Eno album , full of interesting side stories like the unique lithographic production of the cover, the fact that the vinyl version finished on a closed groove, and songs were produced using Oblique Strategies while being incredibly accessible . This wiki article is a great jumping off point.

Anyway that's it for 801 , my next post will probably be a little more on the normal side , but I hope this has made you want to at least listen to the album.


800 Up
This is my 800th post. It's taken a few years to get here and will probably be next year when I hit 1000. Again I didn't know what this blog would turn out like , or whether I would keep on writing , but it's a sort of diary and helps me remember things. The original idea was a travel related blog hence the name "Seven Days In" although it could have been read (and has been by many) as "Seven Day Sin" which could imply much more fun depending of the nature of the sin.


I do believe that life should be fun, and people who look for faults in everyday life must lead a very sad existence. I tend to expect the best from people and situations , and never get mad at anyone or anything , just exasperated, although I have no time at all for bullies which is why I am mightily impressed with coming into contact with Bad Pollyanna who support the extremely worth Sophie Lancaster Foundation. I didn't know what I was going to write about in this blog , apart from the fact that it was number 800 (I also have a theme for number 801). If you download the song Invincible Girl by Bad Pollyanna you will help support the foundation and that is a brilliant thing to do to combat bullying and promote acceptance. It's also available here on itunes.

Anyway it's Sunday afternoon and still a nice day.

By the way thanks to all my friends concerned about the cirrhosis of my liver. If I hadn't been on a trial I wouldn't have known about it , and if I didn't know about it I couldn't take the required action (which is essential 6 months ultrasound scans and the odd other camera based intrusion) but I am totally fine with it. If there is something wrong it's good to know because then you can actually do something about it, problems occur when you don't know. I have a lot to look forward to and I am going to enjoy it including seeing my daughters this week, trying out a couple of new bars and cafes , and seeing two of my heroes Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick gracing a stage I've dis(graced) myself several times at the Tyneside Irish Centre.

So go on, Enjoy Yourself , I certainly will!

Saturday 30 August 2014

And So To Bed

I must thank everyone for their good wishes and concern via text and facebook , email and here.  I really feel fine although a bit worried that I'll wake up in a small pool of blood again. My arm is sore, bruised but I was told to expect that , and I've obviously not been as careful with it as I should have been.

When I was posting earlier I was thinking of using the movie above for the title , which still tickles me , I do like a bit of Kenny Everett.

Anyway I am going to go to bed and will hopefully not be writing about bodily ills. This is my 799th post , so the next one , which will probably be tomorrow should really be something special. Who knows I may get inspired , then again I may not.

But the main thing is that I am relaxed , and enjoying my weekend and you should too.

Unwashed and Somewhat Slightly Dazed and Lots of Blood

When you wake up, feel a ping in your elbow and look down and you are lying in a (small) pool of blood, it's probably not the best way to actually start the day. So you get up , run to the tiled bathroom , bleeding all the way, looking at the gaping wound thinking , what do I do? There's no pain just blood. Then lots of toilet roll and Fiona got me a tea towel as the blood started to subside.

I knew I had to go to casualty, but I was fine apart from the blood, so do I call an ambulance, get a bus or get a taxi. We found a big plaster given as a spare from a previous hospital visiABC taxi.
t and that seemed to stem most of the blood, so thought I'll get an

Space Oddity
The thing is as when your bleeding like that your priorities go all askew, so I couldn't wash , shave or shower, so hence the title taken from David Bowie's 1969 album Space Oddity, a song that I've always loved.

Five minutes later they're at my door , then half there I'm thinking "Have I got any money?" . It wouldn't have mattered as I had my wallet and there is a cash machine at the RVI.

Anyway gets in , and there's no damage done, lots of sterri strips applied and a new big plaster and now I'm back home. Walked through Leazes Park and the weather this morning is glorious. So the weekend has got off to an interesting start to say the least.

I hope yours is excellent , just without the blood.

Saturday Morning 2:30 AM and an unprovoked dig at Apple

Martin and Dave
Wide awake , although feeling slightly tired, but as it's still effectively late Friday night , very early Saturday morning after a manic couple of week both at work and socially and the fact that I 'm going to see two of my all time heroes Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick next Saturday at The Tyneside Irish Centre, I thought , what the hell , I'll just get up and go and write something and see what's happening in the world.

I've just realised that this has taken me 45 minutes to put together though I've managed to learn a few things, and put another smile or two on my face. I do love the way how one thought can lead to another and if you don't reign in your mind who knows where you will end up.

It's quite funny how online spelling checkers keep tryting to tell me it's "center" not "centre"  , but when I'm using the HTML tag it's <CENTER> not <CENTRE> in one of those rare situations where you get conformity in the name of standards , though I can see Apple trying to change HTML tags just because they are Apple to something like MIDDLEIZE and then patenting the word and their users defending it on the principle that "there must be a good reason for it". Oh and by the way I do have an iPad, which I bought because of Garageband , which, when it decides to work and not hide necessary controls is brilliant, but there's probably a good reason why it does that. As this is just text I'm not going to put in a smiley face or say "LOL", but I am obviously saying these things with my tongue firmly in cheek.

The fact that I was able to write that paragraph means that my mind is obviously wide awake even if my body is not quite there. Though tonight is the first time in ten days I've gone to bed without bandages on my arm, and I can't tell you how good that feels. Having them on was neccessary but , getting them off is brilliant. While I'm not sure I'll be able to play the intro to AC/DC's Thunderstruck just yet I am feeling absolutely great now.

The other thing I'll be able to wash and shower without trying to keep my left arm dry. God bless the NHS.

Anyway everybody enjoy your weekend and this gives me an excuse to post this video as well, by Finnish band Steve'n'Seagulls which really is impressive.

Friday 29 August 2014

And Now For The Not Great News

Royal Blood On The Radio
I've just been told I have Cirrhosis of the liver. It's irreversible so it's just a question of keeping it from getting worse. Essentially it's scarring of the liver caused by alcohol abuse or being overweight or diabetic, so over the last five years it's been the last two items that are the problem. The situation is the same as with diabetes  again irreversible but , I think , manageable. But that's it for the bad stuff. I know the NHS will look after me and have my best interests at heart.

It''s now Friday evening and the weekend is here. Royal Blood are on the radio and I have forty eight hours of fun ahead.

This is the thing , even though some things are not brilliant , there are still lots of great things you can find and enjoy so you have a great weekend and if I get to see you even better.

Have Fun!!

Autumn is Here

War of the Worlds
And no I'm not going to post that god awful Justin Hayward song from Jeff Wayne's "War of the Worlds"  , it's just that I have to switch on lights in the morning and soon the leaves will be turning brown and we'll have all those great autumn colours in the plants and trees. We're getting rain , but most of it is at night so that just means that mother nature waters the garden for you.

I always try to keep a positive spin on things as the UK public often just loves moaning and complaining about things. There's a hell of a lot of great things to be happy about and to put a smile on your face.

Anyway today I am hopefully getting my bandages removed from my arm so I can do things with two hands once more. I've had a week of inconvenience and a little pain (I didn't get any pain killers when I left hospital because I'm hard me! ) , and it's an education when you have to live trying to do things mosly one handed while trying to keep the left hand and arm out of whatever you are doing with the right hand and arm. Throughout all this the NHS has been excellent and

Anyway I'm looking forward to being bandage free and enjoying autumn, and oh yeah it's nearly weekend which is even more brilliant. Enjoy your Friday everybody.

Saturday 23 August 2014

Still Ill

Well not ill, but my arm is hurting and there's still a week before I go back to sort the bandages. I've also been extremely busy with work, finishing at 6 tonight, and found time to squeeze in a gig and watch the return of Dr Who with Peter Capaldi as the new Doctor. There were elements of Malcom Tucker in the performance which made it even more enjoyable. I always loved the Thick of It Doctor Who Mash Ups they did.

Complete Smiths
Anyway this is just a short post, my arm is improving , life is good and there's still two days of the Bank Holiday weekend to go, with lots of options of good things to do.

The title gives me an excuse to namecheck The Smiths which
I know are not some peoples favourites, but I do like them.

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Hurt So Good

Mekons - So Good It Hurts
Well hurt is not good , but thought that was a title of a Mekon's song, but there is an album called "So Good It Hurts" which is used as a refrain in this excellent song from the album.

Anyway I'm getting off the point, today I've been to work with my arm heavily bandaged and generally I coped OK, although it's amazing the number of things that you normally use two hands to do like putting contact lenses in , various ablutions like washing, shaving and showering, and I'm going to have to deal with this for a week, but still I think it will all be worth it, I think I have more control over my left hand than prior to the operation.

 One of the worst things is itching under the bandages which , really , you just have to put up with. So I'm prepared to put up with the inconvenience , discomfort , and pain when I catch myself. As I say the NHS have been excellent to me.

Hopefully I'll be able to play guitar properly and finally do something about putting a band together, nothing big, but something fun. I keep promising to write a song and I will get my writing head on soon. Anyway I have to sort my tea out, so I'll go and get that done and let you enjoy your evening as I continue my recuperation.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Deep Purple in The Operating Theatre

Arm in a Purple Sling
Well this post is being written one handed, Today I had an operation on my left arm to free a trapped nerve at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Newcastle. My experience just reinforced my views on how excellent the NHS is and mty annoyance that tories and daily mail and sun readers want it dismantled in favour of the American system. Nye Bevan's original vision is the way and sensible country should be run.

Anyway that's enough political ranting. The staff on the ward wer welcoming and very upbeat, helpful and supportive. The people on the ward were all extremely upbeat despite have worse things to contend with that I had.

The food was brilliant and there were excellent healthy options.

During the operation which had me led on a bed for an hour and a half while staff chatted to me , played decent rock music (Doors, Deep Purple and Manfred Mann were three that came to mind) and the surgeon found I had a muscle that shouldn't have been there which was putting inordinate pressure on the nerve, then he did the carpal tunnel in my left hand.

At the moment I'm waiting for the anesthetic to wear off, so do doubt I'm due some pain, but today has been as excellent as you could expect considering the carving my arm has got. Anyway have a great night , my day has been fine.

I was looking at a Deep Purple album and I  thought "Might Just Take Your Life" was a darkly humorous take on today.

Monday 18 August 2014

Good Day

Well today could have been bad, but I've been feeling positive, not that that can cause good things to happen , but it keeps your spirits up if things don't go as expected.  I've had lots of things to do today and then had a potential over hospital stay lined up.

Be Happy
Well today has been good , every conversation has been brilliant , I've got through all my work, stuff turned up in plenty of time to get things complete then when I left for the hospital , I was running a little late while finishing packing , but luckily the bus I wanted was running a little later.

When I got into the hospital I explained to the doctor the situation, he agreed and said they'd do all the tests and if I was ok then I could go home for the night. The price of this was I have to be back at the hospital at 7.15 tomorrow morning , but it's worth it knowing that my blood is fine and I will get a decent night's sleep.

I hope your day has gone well too. There's nothing like a smile from you to put a smile on my face, and that's why I've included this excellent TED talk about a humanity test. Have a brilliant evening, I've had a brilliant day so far, full of sunshine even though it's raining.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Never Stop

Never Stop Having Fun
Well the last two weeks and the next two weeks for me have been and will be almost non stop. This is not a bad thing although time flies by and disappears as you try and fit everything in. Due to holidays at work we've only had half a team in, but everyone's working extra hard to make sure all runs smoothly and it's actually a pleasure to be in working with the girls and guys, who are absolutely excellent,  supportive with problems and helpful whenever you need them.

There's things we need to do before the bank holiday and I have a day and a half in hospital in the middle of it (tomorrow and Tuesday), I could have done without the overnight stay which they say is because of the ITP but they are just covering themselves and not too arsey so I'll go along with it. As I continually say the NHS is brilliant and hopefully I'll be able to play the guitar properly after the op, which would be amazing as I've never been able to play it before.

Also I am to blame for some of this time congestion as I've also fit in gigs by the Star Spangled Chestwigs, Penetration , Culture (tonight) and Bad Pollyanna (on Friday), so the latish nights are my own fault really, but wouldn't miss them for the world.

And this si one of the things about having fun and being positive, life is much better when you do things , and even better when you do things you enjoy , and even better when you do things you enjoy with friends and people you like like and love. Like I was out seeing friends on Friday and that was fantastic Paul , Fiona , Sarah , Colin  and Graham are fantastic company any day of the week, and that's just five people I'm lucky enough to have in my life.

Today I still have lots to do, but the sun is shining and the wind is blowing but that is fine, no rain at the moment. I know this week I will see many more friends, and have lots of fun , and have the odd moment where I think "I need to sleep" , but really I'd rather be doing something and enjoying myself.

The title is taken from and Echo and the Bunnymen track, so have a brilliant day everybody, my weekend is nowhere near finished and I hope yours isn't either , wherever in the world you are. Keep on smiling

Monday 11 August 2014

When The Wind Blows

Rain Room at The Barbican
Last night I , and a lot of others , were kept away by the high winds. The good thing about it, is there wasn't any rain so it's had a drying affect on everything. Today it's back down the track to Darlington so I hope that the trains are not affected as tomorrow I have got to go to London, where I wish I had time to visit the "Rain Room" at the Barbican. although I have a feeling it's no longer open, like many web sites there's so relevant information but it looks like it's closed as all the articles are from a couple of years back like this BBC one.

Anyway have a great day, I'm off to work now.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Breakfast With Wernher Von Braun

I saw the name Wernher Von Braun this morning and it got me thinking.

The first was it reminded me of the wonderful track "Breakfast With Wernher Von Braun" from the Stackridge album Mr Mick , which I've had to do a slideshow for and hope it stays on Youtube. It is a great piece and I love Stackridge , though as yet I still have never seen them, though given the opportunity I will definitely go  to on of their gigs.

The other thing is that , as far as I know , Wernher Von Braun  is thought of quite rightly, as a leading light in space exploration and rocket technology although a lot of his most famous work (rightly or wrongly) was for the Nazi War machine in the form of the V1 and V2 rockets (David Bowie's V2 Schneider from Heroes was written in Berlin obviously inspired by Von Braun's work). So sometimes some good can come out of patently bad situations.

If there hadn't been a war would Von Braun have been able to do his initial work , and later go to America and help them in the space race and eventually put Man on the Moon. Who knows.

But really it is a lesson that we should all be aware of, that we should continually look for good and inspiration , even when things aren't going our way, and that way good things will occur. Bad things may still happen but if you can focus on something that makes you happy then that's a moment when you will feel good as opposed to feeling down.

I don't know really what I'm writing about in this post but hope it's given you a little food for thought. Have a brilliant Sunday everyone wherever you are in the world.

Saturday 9 August 2014

Blood, Flood and Trains

..Apparently. So I've mowed my lawn, and cut some bushes back and filled up the brown bin , ready for next week. The weather today has been lovely, and despite the downpours this week the lawn is in remarkably good fettle.

This weekend I was intending to do nothing but managed to be so busy today that I forgot my mid day insulin injection, and was wondering why I was feeling a bit tired , just putting it down to physical exercise when I came in a saw four untaken tablets and then it clicked I'd missed my middle of the day injection, checked the blood sugar and it was a bit high but it's back to normal now.

Darlington Brick Train
Anyway looking out the window the sky is still blue ,  there's only a little cloud cover so not sure if we are going to get the downpour, but at least I'm prepared for it.

This week has been good for music and seeing friends so tomorrow I really will try to have a quiet day. Oh and earlier this week I went to see the Brick Train in Darlington which is about ten minutes from where I currently work. Because of this I chose a cover of the Kinks "Last of The Steam Powered Trains" and this version brings out the riff that reminds me of Howling Wolf's "Smokestack Lightning" which incidentally is also about steam trains,
 namely the sparks the could be seen from the funnels when you saw
the trains at night.
About The Brick Train

 Hope you are all having a great weekend, and have a fantastic Sunday everybody. There are lots of great things happening  so enjoy everything.

Say hello to your neighbour or phone a friend , do something to put a smile on your face and you will make the world a friendlier place.

Friday 8 August 2014

A Lot of Music , Hospitals and Liverpool

This week I've been to two gigs , seen some old friends, met some new ones,  seen four bands , The Star Spangled Chestwigs, Toxic , Go Go Midgets and Penetration and had a check up at the hospital before my operation, and annoying they want me to go in the day before my op and stay overnight to check my platelet levels.

Anyway on the player is Go Go Midgets "Beneath The Valley of the UltraMidgets"  which they gave away last night free at The Three Tuns, and very good it is too.. If you check out their Facebook Page there's a lot of free downloads to enjoy.

Was discussing the best songs about Liverpool last night, so I've included mine and John Peel's favourite, the magnificent "Heart As Big As Liverpool" composed by Pete Wylie and performed by Ian Prowse who composed the second best song about Liverpool ever "Does This Train Stop On Merseyside" , another opinion shared by me and John Peel. The documentary is at the bottom of the post, very interesting and entertaining.

Liver Biopsy - Not My Body (I think You Knew That)
The reason being that I've been hit by ITP twice in my life (the last time fifteen years back after  spending a night outdoors in sub zero temperatures - so I know what the homeless have to endure on nights like that) . I pointed out I'd recently had some fairly invasive stuff for my Liver Biopsy which was done in a day , but to no avail. I do feel over caution has won out in this case as I would know if the ITP had hit as I check every day for the signs.

Anyway so I'm in hospital 18th August til the 19th of August for the op so no playing out that night (not that I ever play out of course.

Outside it's pouring down so plans to mow the lawn with take a hike tonight, which means I can watch some films. Currently watching the wonderful Hugo which is Martin Scorsese's first family film, so will finish that off tonight.

So though it's raining there's lot's of great stuff going on and the weekend is here so enjoy yourselves everyone.

Sunday 3 August 2014

I Just Can't Be Happy Today... Well Actually I Can, We All Can

Well actually I can, everybody can , there's always something to enjoy or feel good about. I was at a great gig last night by the Star Spangled Chestwigs and had a great crack on with several friends. When I left got an "affectionate" goodby from Shev and the crowd, got to the Metro station , train pulled up , which got me into Newcastle Monument where I walked to my bus stop two minutes before the last bus turned up. That wasn't planning, it was luck, but just made me feel better.

I took the title from the excellent Damned song.

Don't Worry Be Happy
Earlier in the day I'd had lunch at Cafe Rouge with my daughter Juliet, which was excellent, great service , and there were a couple of parties in , one of which had a few young mothers among their number. As I was leaving I noticed that one mother was breast feeding her baby, the atmosphere was so relaxed that she could do that as it should be , completely naturally . Kudos to Cafe Rouge for providing that environment, they have gone up in my estimation.

The thing is being happy is a positive trait that should be practiced and encouraged in everyone. Bad things happen but to work towards coping with them, and find something that will put a smile on your face.

A lot of people seem to spend more energy being miserable and they must have a sad life. The right wing push hate slogans, and people who are good friends of mine often spread these probably without thinking. On Facebook groups like Britain First and Right Wing News are particularly spiteful and nasty. Anyone on benefits spends all of that hard earned tax payers money on cigarettes, tattoos, alcohol and cable TV and immigrants just walk in here and get mansions and new cars, although it's seldom you can find hard examples of this. They seem to forget that their taxes are also paying for the tax "avoidance" / "evasion" of large corporations , but that is apparently ok. But what they don't think is that the avoided tax will end up bled out of the economy and in a Cayman Islands Hedge Fund, while cash paid out in benefits will stay within the economy. If we stopped ev
asion with the money returned to the economy we could employ people under the direct control of government to properly administer tax and benefits.

Another of the hate posts I've seen recently are targeting diabetics. "Don't they understand if they stop stuffing their faces with cake and chocolate they'd be ok". These have been posted by people I consider my friends. Well yeah I'm overweight but don not over indulge. Also  what about Sir Steven Redgrave, hardly a lard arse, and a good friend of mine has far worse diabetes that me , which she is coping with but is a mere slip of a girl.

Really I feel sad for the people who write and spread these things while happily they are taken advantage of by big business and right wing governments and organisations.

So basically , the sun is shining , there are lots of things to do, pick up a phone and talk to a friend, meet them in a park or art gallery, go and see a film, listen to some music, read a book, go for  a walk (I found an excuse to make myself go for a long walk earlier and feel better for it), there are lots of things you can do to make you feel good. Try to see the good in others but don't be taken advantage of. If someone is having a hard time , offer a helping hand, be there for your friends, I know all my friends are.

Anyway there's been some diatribes here , but I am happy , I am good , and I am having a great weekend.. You do the same.

Friday 1 August 2014

August Is Here

It's month eight although it used to be the sixth month before they rearranged the calendar, named after some Roman Emperor called Augustus. We still have excellent weather, with rain during the night and sun during the day.

Again nothing major to write about although I am slightly exasperated on a number of fronts with IT people refusing to take responsibility for systems they are paid for looking after and saying it's not their responsibility. I and others diagnose the problem and then nothing gets done apart from those idiots suggesting it may be the users fault.

This has happened three times this week already , once in work twice outside of work, but I'm not too bothered and it's not worth  getting het up about.

I'm just looking forward to a really nice weekend looking forward to lunch with my daughters and seeing the Star Spangled Chestwigs on Saturday at The Doll at The Black Bull in Gateshead. Sensible people  deal with the drudgery and take delight in the good things and that's what I intend to stay doing. Have a great day and a better weekend